The Buyers Guide to Studio Headphones

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What makes Studio Headphones Special?
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Shopping for headphones may seem like a simple thing to do, in an ideal world you would just go and buy the most expensive pair of cans your budget can afford. Although this could, to a certain degree be an easy way around it, sometimes the most expensive solution is not necessarily the best solution, we may have special requirements that some headphones may meet much better than others.

When it comes to professional headphones it’s important to focus on the purpose and your own needs as not all headphones are designed for the same task. Before we get started we must advise you to avoid at all cost HIFI and Wireless headphones, as they tend to enhance or cut certain frequencies that won’t give you a critical or accurate reference.

How much should I spend?

Headphones are very useful but professionals believe that, unless you’re on the road, they should not be a replacement for good monitors. How much you spend on your can’s is up to you and how far your budget can stretch; But its important to keep in mind that the further you go the more improvements you will see on quality and durability of the components, as well as how comfortable they will be over long periods of use.

Operating principle

Sometimes also called operating system, or in other words nothing but a fancy way of saying a certain pair of headphones is closed back, open back or something in between. The operating principle it’s subject to much debate in terms of what works best and the short answer is that there is no best solution, there is only what works best for you, we’ll address the features of each operating principle to help you make a much more informed decision.

Closed back

[KRK Headphone Guide] Closed back headphones have the earcups completely sealed, because of this they offer great monitoring without leakage of sound, making them the best option for recording to eliminate any unwanted sound reaching your microphone. They also tend to provide the most powerful bass and the best noise isolation from the outside, the latter also makes them a great choice for live mixing.

Great alternatives for close back headphones are the Focal Spirit PRO, Beyerdynamic DT770, KRK KNS 8400 and Shure SRH 940 or 840. For a cost effective alternative there are the Audio Technica ATH M40X, KRK KNS 6400 and the Shure SRH 440.

Open Back 

Open back designs are very prone to leakage and don’t isolate outside noise. Although lacking in bass, a lot people believe that allowing the sound to scape gives them a better sense of soundstage and spacious sound. They’re obviously not the best choice for recording but many sound engineers will find them ideal for mixing in the studio. Amongst the best open back headphones in the market there’s the Audio-Technica ATH-R70x, Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO and the AKG K702 or K612. If on a budget we advice you to consider the AKG K121

Semi Closed /Semi Open: 

Semi closed or sometimes also known as semi open headphones aim at the powerful bass response of closed designs with the airiness of open headphones. A good set of semi-closed headphones could be a very good balanced solution for an overall use. Some recommended models are the Beyerdynamic DT 880, AKG K240 MKII and AKG K141 MKII, great cost effective alternatives are the Presonus HD7 or the AKG K99, K77 and K44.

Try before you buy

Regardless of its open or closed back style, at the end of the day there’ll only be one final judge, your very own ears. That’s why here in Production Room we encourage customers to pop in store and try them out before they buy them, so you can leave the shop safe in the knowledge that you got the best product for your money.

You can view our whole range of Studio and DJ Headphones online here or alternatively call in store for a true no pressure try before you buy experience
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